Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Ride

 A weirdly warm January morning

 Mike checking out the snow rollers

 A snow roller. These are a pretty rare phenomenon requiring conditions be just so

 Greg getting a fix on where we were

 It doesn't show here but it was starting to snow right about here

Portaging

Although I've continued to ride the 6 mile round trip commute to work through the winter I have not ridden any further than maybe a trip to town added on.

Riding in the winter can easily veer into no fun depending on how well prepared you are or what the temperatures are like. There is certainly a break point.

Greg, Mike, and a couple others have been making some rides happen over the last few weekends and I decided I was game to join them, having read about their last excursion. Friendly riding on fat studded tires on back roads sounds good, so I met Greg and Mike this morning for a ramble through the wilds of Middlesex.

I was mentally prepared for dealing with being cold, but when I woke up it was over 40 degrees out and very windy with sunny spells and snow squalls. A mixed picture. Not what I'd expect for a mid-January morning. I certainly wasn't thinking rain, although that proved to be part of our morning.

Unfortunately Mike had to turn back early on to expedite a trip home, but Greg and I continued on up and down the snowy roads. Not possessing a smart phone, nor having a map on me I acknowledged to Greg that I was relying on him for navigation and he was okay with that... something for me to contemplate for the future.

Our ride took us from the park-and-ride in Middlesex down to Montpelier on the Three Bridges/River Road and from there up into the back roads of Middlesex, with a mix of sun, grey, and rain along the way. The rain eventually became wet snow. Towards the end of our ride it was cooling a little under brilliant blue skies with fast moving white clouds. We ran into two instances of portaging through closed or class 4 roads that connected plowed roads. I love that kind of stuff, so I was game for a little bike-lugging to mix up the experience.

If anything, I had to manage not getting too warm, but also being careful to not get too chilled on the descents after a long climb. My hands and feet were fine, although I had packed a couple of chemical warmer pads in case I needed them. I'll hold on to them for another day.

It felt great to get out and actually go for a sustained bike ride. Although the cold creates a bit of apprehension, the idea of getting out for a friendly adventure gets me excited. I was glad to spend time with Greg and Mike and do a little exploring.

Soup and coffee at Red Hen rounded off a nice morning.